Egaro - Shemaroo
People irrespective of class, caste or community became attracted by the dream of beating the ruling British at their own game. Nothing could be greater than the fact that the British who considered themselves superior would be defeated by the so-called inferior natives in direct physical confrontation. Bengali emotion rose high at the sight of Bengalis being repressed, humiliated and branded as inferiors in all spheres of life. Defeating the best European civil and military teams in their game of soccer placed Mohun Bagan like a colossal nationalist Himalaya on the sporting horizon. The Indians were mentally prepared and desirous to see the British rule humiliated and brought to its knees.
For a brief moment, the subconscious longing of the Indian people to emerge winners in the struggle for self-assertion leading to independence, was made a tangible reality when eleven barefooted Indians beat the East Yorkshire team who were reckoned to be the best then. On 29th of July 1911 Mohun Bagan won the match 2-1 in just around 50 minutes. The status of Mohun Bagan as the national soccer team made them a major fighting unit in India's wider battle against the imperialists. Mohun Bagan had become almost synonymous with the national battle cry of Vande Mataram ('worshipping the mother'). Its matches against European teams were perceived as campaigns to defeat the rulers, and the match between Mohun Bagan and Calcutta Football Club came to be seen in that light. Thus, Bengali nationalist instincts in the wake of a perceived Indian national victory converged with the broader stream of Indian nationalism. It was a massive blow to the British and eventually they succumbed to it when we got our much awaited independence 37 years later.
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